Wednesday, July 15, 2009

On July 15

On this day in ...
1927, the July Revolt in Vienna, Austria resulted the deaths of 84 protesters and 4 police officers. The political situation there at the time was fraught with tension because of antagonisms between the progressive, pro-labor Social Democrats and a powerful alliance of wealthy industrialists with fascist leanings. According a New York Times report,
The demonstration, which rapidly developed revolutionary tendencies, began after a Vienna jury, despite their plea of guilty, had acquitted three Fascists who last January shot and killed a Socialist and his child.
The announcement of the verdict led to a general strike intended to overthrow the government headed by Chancellor Ignaz Seipel. Protesters also set fire to the Justizpalast (above left), the building housing the Court of Justice that had delivered the incendiary trial verdict. (photo credit)
1943, Jocelyn Bell Burnell (below right), astrophysicist, was born Susan Jocelyn Bell in Belfast, Northern Ireland. (photo credit) In 1965, she began work on her Ph.D. at Cambridge University, assisting in the construction of a radio telescope that was to be used to track quasars. After several weeks of analysis, Bell noticed some marking that was too fast and regular to be a quasar. Further study identified the signals as coming from rapidly rotating neutron stars; they became known as pulsars. The paper announcing the discovery had 5 authors; Bell's name appeared 2d. Yet when 2 of the researchers were honored with the 1974 Nobel Prize in Physics, Bell was not among them. She is now a Fellow of the Royal Society, a British scientific association; a Dame Commander of the British Empire; and a Visiting Professor of Astrophysics at the University of Oxford.

(Prior July 15 posts are here and here.)

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